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Letters to the Editor

Forestry affects climate change

Many in the timber industry apparently fail to understand the implications of climate change. One result of this failure is they pressure politicians to increase logging.

Timber managers in Oregon should appreciate how climate projections are likely to impact forest health and tree performance. The viability of many critically important tree associations and tree species, some of great commercial importance, will be compromised during the coming century. Examples include reduction in the range of Douglas fir and dramatic losses among some high-elevation associations.

However, if we manage our forests for carbon storage, maybe we can avert the worst-case scenarios and save our forests. Our Western forests are among the greatest carbon storage systems on the planet. If we ignore their carbon storage value, through the century we will likely suffer reduced availability of many of our most prized species and associations. Whether the land is private or public will not matter if we destroy our climate so much that it simply cannot support the trees species we value.

What merit is increased logging if this contributes to climate change that destroys our forests by the end of the century? Timber profits?

See www.socan.info.

Julia Maria Rodriguez Seidler, toxicologist

Ashland

Support those who support workers

I have lived in Jackson County for nearly seven years, and I love living here.

I stayed with my parents when I first came in 2007, and then I found my own apartment with the help of the county and a Section 8 voucher. Now my parents are gone and I want to stay in the county, but I find that paying all of my bills is difficult sometimes, even with the rent subsidy.

I am glad that Congress is planning to increase the federal minimum wage for workers. I know that for me personally, I need somewhere around $24,000 a year to pay rent and bills and own a car, etc. It is the amount I was paid as a chaplain resident at the Portland VA when I was in seminary 10 years ago.

I believe that the minimum wage should be increased nationally to $12.50 per hour. If this increase in minimum wage legislation is not supported by Congress, then I would ask why the members of Congress do not try to raise their own families on minimum wages for a year, and without health insurance — or to select from Obamacare like so many of us.

I live alone now with two cats, and I do not own a car, so my expenses are lower than some families to whom $24,000 would only be the essentials needed to live with dignity.

Please join me in voting whenever possible and supporting elected officials who are still compassionate and caring about the middle class and strong families.

Here is a relevant quote from my father who served in the Oregon Legislature in the early 1970s:

"The progress of human affairs requires that the condition of our world and its inhabitants be always foremost in our best intentions. Our premise is that all persons deserve happiness and that freedom and liberty and human dignity belong equally to each regardless of origin and greater circumstance." — LeRoy D. Owens

Daniel R. Owens

Ashland

Why I'm voting no on GMO ban

You may be interested to learn why, after thinking it over, I am voting no on Measure 15-119 (the anti-GMO measure).

It's somewhat of a replay of "global warming": the overwhelming majority of scientists are supportive of GMO. That is the principal argument for voting no.

The other arguments against it are libertarian arguments, some of them with validity: the intrusion of county inspectors without warrants on private property is a clear expansion of government surveillance and unconstitutional. Aside from that, if enforcement is taken seriously will cost a lot more than the measly $200,200 projected. Also it will greatly benefit the lawyers, with everyone (pro or con) invited by the measure to file a lawsuit. Read the full text!

Fred Kohler

Ashland

Support Ockunzzi for commissioner

I support Joel Ockunzzi for county commissioner. Both of us are members of the county Planning Commission; we have served together for seven years. It is always a pleasure to work with Joel, no matter how hard the issue, or whether we agree or disagree. The board of commissioners will need his leadership with the upcoming retirement of commissioners Rachor and Skundrick.

Joel Ockunzzi is hard-working, fair to everyone, practical and well informed before making decisions. His record shows that the most important thing for him in deciding an issue is what will best serve the public. Such candidates are rare, so I hope Republicans will vote for him in this primary election, and everyone will support him this fall.

Richard B. Thierolf Jr.

Ashland

Calle walkway project is stunning

The new Calle Walkway is a stunning example of the beautiful public works projects our city is capable of creating when teamwork and citizen input is actively engaged.

The classic herringbone pattern of the bricks ties in beautifully with the downtown's historic architecture. And the playful curves of the walkway mirror the meandering creek. The walkway references both the past and the present.

We would love to see the Parks team that gave us this lovely walkway included in the redesign efforts for our Plaza. Downtown Beautification Committee, here is the inspiration and vision we have been seeking. Congratulations to Mr. Robertson and the entire Parks Department for creating this inspiring project!

David and Lisa Sherr

Ashland